Online reviews give a voice to customers who are looking to share their customer experience. They act as social proof. Whether you’re a plumber or an electrician, or any other local business that provides a home service, online reviews can significantly impact your business’s reputation.
In fact, customers are willing to spend 31% more on businesses with excellent reviews and five-star ratings.
But what do you when your business receives negative feedback on a public forum frequented by your customers, both old customers and potential buyers?
Believe it or not, feedback removal is an option for your business.
This article uncovers how your business can ask its customers to remove or update negative feedback, so your positive reviews become the main focus on review platforms again.
How to Ask a Customer to Remove a Negative Review or Negative Feedback
Did you know that four out of five consumers change their mind about buying a product or using a service after reading a negative review about it? This is a game-changing statistic for both big and small businesses. Negative reviews can drive a lot of change in customer interactions—and not necessarily the good kind.
Negative online reviews can not only hurt you financially through the form of reduced sales; they can also cause tension or stress in having to deal with a dissatisfied, sometimes even unpleasant, customer.
How can your business minimize the damage done by negative or even neutral feedback left on online review sites?
The answer is simple: The best thing your business can do is directly (and politely) ask the customer to remove or update their feedback.
Contact your unhappy customer and be personable. Use their first name and apologize as necessary. You might ask them what went wrong and why they were so dissatisfied with the service provided. Collect insight into their poor customer experience, empathize, and make them feel heard.
Your business’s diligence and extra step to right a wrong may change the customer’s opinion and review. Take advantage of the customers that are willing to engage with you. Assure them that it won’t happen again and politely ask them to update their negative feedback after doing so. Or, your business might “re-do” or provide another (perhaps free of charge or discounted) service that will encourage the customer to update their negative review to a positive one.
Pro-tip: Never make your customers feel pressured to change their reviews or remove feedback. Make sure the tone is friendly and not coercive. Customers should not feel incentivized or threatened to change their reviews.
Depending on the review platform, the strategy and approach your business chooses to take may differ. Keep reading to explore examples of bad customer experiences and how your business can request removal of their negative feedback across these popular platforms:
Requesting Negative Feedback Removal on Facebook
Facebook has one of the largest online communities and is one of the most popular social networks for consumers and business owners to leverage. A negative review on Facebook can spread quickly and damage your business’s reputation if not appropriately addressed or contained.
Imagine a scenario in which a customer has a terrible experience with one of your business’s employees. The customer then posts about his or her bad experience on your business’s Facebook Business Page. This customer also happens to have hundreds of friends who might see this activity.
Here’s how your business can go about phrasing the communication with them:
Dear (Customer Name),
We are sorry to hear about your negative experience with our employee. We have taken the necessary action with (him/her) and will ensure this incident does not repeat itself.
We would like to do everything we can to make this right for you.
We remain committed to our customers and your satisfaction. Please contact us at your earliest convenience so we can find a solution that makes you happy. You can reach us by phone (business phone number) or contact us via email at (business email address).
Following the conflict’s resolution, you can follow up with:
Hello, (Customer Name),
Thank you so much for being patient with us. We appreciate your feedback and are grateful for your continued business and the opportunity to fix our mistake. Your time is valuable to us, and we would be grateful if you would please consider updating your feedback on our Facebook Page.
Thank you so much, and please contact us any time if you have any questions.
Requesting Negative Feedback Removal on Google
Google is the go-to platform for many consumers who want to find a business and learn more about it. For many, Google is often the first point of research when learning about a business’s location, hours of operation, product pages, pricing, and even if a business accepts specific credit cards.
Needless to say, businesses must manage their online reviews on Google appropriately to ensure their business is being represented positively and accurately.
Imagine a situation where a customer Googles your business in hopes of finding the address and making a visit. (In fact, 86% of customers look up the location of a business online via Google.)
Now imagine how frustrated the customer would be if they found out the Google Maps location is inaccurate or if your business’s hours of operation were listed incorrectly.
(The first thing your business should do is update the information on its Google My Business page.) Right after that, your business should contact the customer who left a bad review because of this silly yet costly business mistake.
Here’s how you can word the email:
Hi, (Customer Name),
We would like to offer our sincerest apologies for the inaccurate information displayed about (company name) on the Google listing. We have updated the information now and will ensure this does not repeat itself. Our customers’ happiness is our top priority.
As a gesture of goodwill, we would like to offer you a small discount on your next service. Please contact us at your earliest convenience. We can be reached by phone (business phone number), or you can email us at (business email address).
We look forward to hearing from you!
And as always, don’t forget to follow up with an email kindly requesting them to update their review afterward! That message may look a little something like this:
Dear (Customer Name),
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to resolve this issue! We want to again apologize for any inconvenience our mistake might have caused. Your review is really valuable to our business, and we would be grateful if you can please consider updating the review to reflect your most recent experience with our business.
Requesting Negative Feedback Removal on Yelp
Yelp is an online review platform for businesses, both big and small, in all industries. Initially started as an online review platform for restaurants, Yelp has expanded to all industries and transformed the way consumers engage with any business.
A negative Yelp review scares many business owners. When your business receives a one-star Yelp review and some scathing comments, you have two options to remove them.
The first option only works if the negative review is falsified or from a fake account. If your business determines the negative feedback is false or misleading, the next step is to flag/report the review and allow Yelp to step in. Click on the drop-down menu in the top right corner of the review you want to flag, and click “Report Review”.
Yelp will determine if the review violates its guidelines and terms of service and may remove the review if so.
If the review is honest but still negative, your business’s second option is to address the customer’s issue and politely request removal or an update.
For example, let’s imagine a customer left a negative rating and feedback criticizing the quality of your business’s service. The customer felt that the service was too slow, disorganized, and felt unheard or taken advantage of.
Here’s a sample template your business might use to address the issue and get the negative online review either deleted or updated to a positive one:
Dear (Customer Name),
We are terribly sorry to know you are unsatisfied with our services. Your experience and satisfaction are a top priority for us, and we’d like to take this opportunity to correct the situation by offering a full refund or replacement.
At (company name), we will stop at nothing to make our customers happy. Let us know how we can do that for you. Please contact us at your soonest convenience by calling us (business phone number) or sending us an email at (business email address).
Hope to hear from you soon,
(Your full name)
(Your company name)
After your customer replies and the situation is resolved, consider following up with:
Dear (Customer Name),
We hope we met your expectations on resolving the issue surrounding your recent experience.
Your feedback is extremely valuable to our business. If you feel your concerns were adequately addressed, we kindly ask you to consider updating the negative review here:
Thank you very much for your confidence in us.
Can Negative Feedback Ever be… Positive?
Negative reviews don’t always mean it’s the end of the world. Ecommerce businesses (those often found on Amazon or eBay) feel similar effects of negative reviews that service-oriented businesses do. Even eBay or Amazon sellers can benefit from the advice offered here. Amazon feedback and product reviews affect buyers’ decision to purchase that product the same way a negative review left on Yelp or Facebook might discourage a customer from patronizing a business.
By mastering how to respond to negative reviews and managing your online reputation in such scenarios, any business will start to see the positive takeaways from the experience.
Here are a few:
- Addresses the glaring issues of the company that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. Customers often have a keen eye for your business’s weaknesses that you are not aware of. Negative reviews expose or identify a blind spot in your business. This may help your business bridge the gap between you and your customers to avoid the same issue in the future.
- Creates a stronger team by working on concerns together. Through negative reviews and your business’s response to them, you can strengthen team spirit and your collaborative culture.
- Uses the opportunity to salvage relationships with customers instead of just losing them. When a business or company completely ignores a customer’s negative review, the customer might feel discouraged to ever come back. Ensuring your business’s customer support team handles these reviews in a timely and polite manner can not only turn negative reviews around, but it can also salvage or retain that customer. Keep in mind that business and/or seller feedback is just as important.
- Maintains the reputation of your management team. A professional response to a negative review shows your customers that your business cares for them and that senior management listens.
Let Signpost Help Your Business with Online Reputation Management
Online reputation management can be a tricky business. If your business doesn’t have an around-the-clock feedback manager, addressing online reviews can become overwhelming and stressful.
Signpost is here to help your business throughout the process, transform your negative feedback into positive feedback, and amplify your business’s glowing star reviews.
Our review management service can help make the best of the worst by identifying negative reviews and helping your business respond to them. Get started with us today!